Picture of the Algonquin soccer field during the COVID-19 pandemic, taken by Frankie Benvenuti Photo credit: Frankie Benvenuti

While Algonquin will play under the Thunder name for the 2020-21 season for its sports, a name change is coming.

On April 2, the Algonquin College Students’ Association announced the new name will be the Algonquin Wolves.

“The SA held a college-wide survey to gauge the community’s preference for a name and narrative that would establish an Algonquin College identity, and not just a varsity athletic identity,” said the SA in a news release.

“Survey results . . . showed that Thunder received the majority of votes by a slim margin, but that more students in total voted for some version of Wolves,” said the SA.

“Other considerations included the feedback received through Board linkage with students, the values expressed in the narratives for Thunder and Wolves, the marketability of the name and the ability to establish an identity on all campuses of Algonquin College,” said the SA.

When the poll was conducted in October 2019, a mix of current students, staff, and alumni were polled. They were presented with four options, Thunder, Wolves, Grey Wolves and Good Wolves.

Thunder won the poll with 49 per cent of the votes, but 51 per cent of those polled voted for names that included the word ‘Wolves’. From there, it was decided that the name should be changed to Wolves despite the outcome of the poll.

Despite the vote taking place and the college considering people’s opinions, many people are still unhappy with the name change.

“I’m personally not the biggest fan of the name change. I think the whole college community really rallies behind the Thunder name and it’s a bit of a shame to see them changing it,” said Connor Thompson, an Algonquin graduate.

Many students and alumni are against this move. There was a petition created on change.org that you can find here. As of May 31, 2020, it has received 1,918 signatures.

“This does not make any sense at all. Many people participated in this survey in good faith and have the expectation that the SA would respect the results. If not, why bother having a survey in the first place,” says the petition.

Others are taking the name and looking for a deeper meaning.

“Maybe the college wants to represent dominance. Wolves are at the top of the food chain, and something like that is a threat to other teams. The name makes sense because thunder is something that can’t be controlled and occurs randomly. On the other hand, wolves are organized and are stronger in a group,” said Tod Davaakhuu, a former student at Algonquin.

The name change will take effect for the 2021 seasons to coincide with the opening of the new athletic centre being built on the Algonquin campus. It is currently unclear when live sports will resume because of the Cover-19 pandemic.